Whilst the Partnership lets out a number of farms on agricultural tenancies and grass parks, its own in-hand farming operations run to over 4000 acres in the centre of the Estate.
Given Whitfield’s upland location, land is severely disadvantaged and is devoted entirely to livestock farming with a suckler herd and hill flock.
The Whitfield Estate Partnership home farm covers approximately 4,200 acres of upland hill land, ranging from 700 hundred feet to 1700 feet above sea level. 2,700 acres of this is heather moor. A large proportion of the land is classified as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, and all the land is in environmental enhancement schemes.
The sheep flock consists 1,600 Swaledale Ewes. 1,000 Ewes run on the heather fell and are bred pure and are lambing at an average of 125% to produce ewe lambs for flock replacements. 600 ewes are kept on the in bye ground and are crossed with Blue Faced Leicester Rams: they lamb at 165% to produce Mule ewe lambs to sell to lowland farms for breeding purposes. The majority of the remainder Swaledale and Mule lambs are finished on grass and forage crops.
The cattle herd comprises of 130 Saler X Limousin suckler cows, calving in February, March and April to Saler and Limousin Bulls. All calves are weaned in October and sold through Hexham Auction Mart at special calf sales.
Replacement bulls are sourced from high health status herds to ensure no disease is introduced. The herd is monitored and is currently clear of Johne’s disease.
All cattle are housed inside from October through to May and fed on home produced silage, bought in straw and minerals. A new cattle shed and cattle handling facilities have recently been installed to facilitate optimum performance and stress free handling of the herd.
180 acres of good grassland is used to produce silage and hay for the winter-feeding of all livestock and contributes to a low-cost input system.